Toronto - Vancouver (aka please no moose)
I've spent the last 10 months obsessing about taking 3 weeks to myself, something I've never done before, and riding West, seeing the Canada that I've never seen with my own eyes before.
With the support of an amazing wife, I did it. I got back last week, and have been just getting my thoughts together and ready to get it all down. I know how much I love reading about other people's trips, it's like fuel when I can't be on the road...so I thought I'd share it. It's going to be a bunch of posts, there was way too much to get down all in one post.
The idea started percolating last last year, and I knew that as much I love the Volusia, that I would need a little more to get across the country and back in one piece. The Vol could do it, no doubt, but when I saw that 03 Nomad discounted so heavily, brand new on the floor of the stealer's, I had to pull the trigger. Fret not, I kept the Volusia. She's too great a ride to let go.
I spent the winter on the Kawasaki Delphi board (great folks) figuring out what I had to do to perfect the ride. Risers, backrest, sissy bar, throttle lock, highway pegs, sissy bar bag (T-bag), tank bag, tool kit, portable air compressor, tire kit hmm let me think was there anything else? Oh, the GPS. One can't be traipsing across the country all la-dee-dah without a GPS!!! You all know what the buying frenzy is like with a new bike. It's a frickin' sickness...but we indulge, don't we? After all, even though I only saw 2 other Nomads in 12000 kms, I didn't want the slightest chance that my bike was just like anyone elses!!
People asked me why on earth would I do this trip all through Canada - going through the Northern US is apparently far better a ride than going all the way across Canada. Well, I wanted to see Canada, I wanted to lay my eyes on the rest of my country, and I can't very well do that from the US.
Why this trip in the first place? I'm a fierce patriot, been all over the East Coast (Cabot trail, anyone?) but I've never had a reason to go west. I'm from Toronto, and it's easy to get caught up in what's going on here and to forget that there's a whole rest of the nation. Given the chance, driving (better yet, riding) across the country is something that everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. Seeing it all firsthand, with your own eyes, it brings it all alive and makes it real in a way that can't be done any other way.
So as the trip got closer and closer, I got more and more nervous. This was to be a solo trip, a chance for me really to get lost in my own head for an extended period of time, a chance for me to really miss those back home. Plus I had a close look at my trip on Google Maps, and was seeing for the first time exactly how much distance there was between my stops. It seemed like hundreds and hundreds of kilometers where there was just ... nothing.
I was also hearing from people about their experiences crossing Canada, and it was almost all the same.
1. Ontario is huge - it'll take days just to get out of the province.
1.1 There's nothing in Northern Ontario except moose and bears just waiting to spring out at you from the side of the road.
1.1.1 Moose and bears will kill you. Kill you dead.
2. There's nothing in Manitoba
3. Saskatchewan: see Manitoba
4. The Rockies are so incredible that words don't do them justice.
4.1 The problem with the Rockies is that you have to go through Alberta to get to them (easy, Albertans...that's a joke)
5. It rains a lot in British Columbia, but it's worth it.
I came up with a plan - a conservative 500 km/day would let me ride harder some days and easier others, and would let me have a couple of days off the bike at some point. I had some friends that live in Salt Spring Island in BC that I could spend some time with before turning around and heading home.
Next post...how the *&^% do I get all this &^%$ onto the ^%$#ing bike????
06 650 Vstrom and 82 Yamaha Seca 750